How to Choose Your Battles with Your Kids

Learn why you should choose your battles and how to decide which ones to choose.

Cherylyn Feierabend,
February 27, 2010
Episode #150

Page 2 of 2

My son gets out of his pre-school class several hours before his sister is home from her full-time school. He has lunch at home and then takes a nap. When his sister gets home, they usually have a snack at the same time. It’s just one of our routines. If one of them has a snack, the other one will undoubtedly want one too. There are certain days where my son refuses to take his nap. He is four-years-old at this writing and developing quite the mind of his own. I’ve learned over time that sometimes when he’s tired, he’s also cranky, and it’s a bit of a challenge to get him to agree to his nap. I get to choose whether to force the issue, or just let him be tired and awake. The snack-time issue is that sometimes he’ll want his snack before his sister gets home or immediately after he’s had lunch. It’s not actually a battle until I say no and he starts being whiny and disrespectful. Generally, he’s fine with waiting until snack time, but sometimes he will put in a second or third request. Again, I’m faced with the “do I really want to fight with him about this?” moment.

Try to Find the Win-Win Situation

So, once you’ve realized that you have a decision ahead of you on whether or not to choose the battle, how do you make the final decision? My suggestion is to take a deep breath and think about what solution will offer the closest win-win situation. Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Is it worth fighting over?

  2. Am I just frustrated with the situation?

  3. What will bring me the most peace?

  4. Is this just a once-in-while incident or is it repeat behavior that I actually need to deal with right now?

  5. Is there a way to resolve the issue without creating additional frustration to anyone?

Your answers to these questions might help you find the resolution you are looking for. Another idea is to ask your child what he thinks about the situation. If it’s his behavior that’s in question you could say, “I do not like your behavior right now. How do you think I should handle it?” You might be surprised at the response you get. If you hear something good, let me know! My kids always have to stop and think about it and usually they respond with, “You don’t have to do anything. I’ll behave.” And sometimes, they actually do!

I would love to hear about the responses you receive! I also welcome your questions, shared experiences, or parenting tips. For those of you that are not already fans on Facebook. Come on over and join me on the Mighty Mommy Facebook fan page. You can also follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mightymommy.

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